The rise of horticultural hotspots in the Global South – socio-economic and environmental outcomes of their formal and informal embeddedness within global value chains

Name of applicant

Sinne Ørtenblad


Postdoctoral Fellow


Wageningen University and Research, the Netherlands


DKK 1,020,000



Type of grant

Internationalisation Fellowships


Production of fresh food in plastic covered greenhouses - so-called plasticulture - in arid regions of the global South is a newer way of feeding the population in northern regions of the world. This connection between production and consumption of fresh produce integrates farmers and (often migrant) labourers in global horticultural value chains, that are typically controlled by large international supermarkets. The overall aim of this research project is to identify and exam the drivers of development of plasticulture farming and the local and regional social, economic and environmental implications of this development.


The rapid growth of the world population combined with the impacts of climate changes require a green agricultural transition towards more sustainable (re)use of resources as well as inclusive socio-economic development in rural regions in the global South. Agricultural farming in greenhouses covered with plastic film can be part of a solution to these global challenges, by introducing a way of producing food in areas normally not suitable for agricultural activities, but the social, economic and environmental implications of the rise of this farming system need to be investigated to secure support of inclusive and sustainable development.


The research will be based on qualitative fieldwork comprising interviews with different actors in horticultural value chains originating in clusters in the Sous-Massa region, from farmers to agricultural labourers, traders and supermarkets. Moreover, the project will investigate the role of the Moroccan state and private businesses in plasticulture development, incl. trade agreements, land and agricultural regulation.

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